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Letters to the Editor: Feb. 4, 2020

Speculators and the U.S. Mint

I found what I could read of Bruce Frohman’s article on speculators (my copy was partially shredded by the post office) very interesting. His overall defense of them is reasonable. Making a profit from someone else has a name, capitalism. Coin speculators are like house flippers taking advantage of others in a perfectly legal way. Useful at times, unloved by most.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Mint plays into the hands of speculators, eBay resellers, television coin sellers, and dealers in general with their remarkably ill-informed sales and marketing division. In the past, the Coin and Chronicles series was a disaster because the mint’s marketing team did not recognize that a unique offering of especially low mintage would sell out rapidly. If the number of an item offered is way below likely demand, dedicated collectors will be left out. The entire hokey website for purchasing just enraged collectors even more. Items costing less than $100 that are unique, especially in a collected series, should never be below 75,000 offered with one to a customer for a while.

So, the 30,000 enhanced reverse proof bullion dollars created a public relations and marketing disaster for the mint. Not only did it sell out in minutes but the website malfeasance made the whole thing even worse. What Bruce forgot was the critical part of true collector basic psychology: the need to be a “geeky completie” a term I am borrowing from another writer. Those who are striving for a complete set feel cheated when blocked from doing so by speculators unless they pay a huge markup.

I have collected U.S. coins, ancient coins, foreign proof and mint sets and now minor foreign proof coins and junk box finds. I go where the speculators are not and this has lead to Happy Collecting.

Name and address withheld

The Grading System

I can’t believe what has happened to the grading system these days-even the biggest dealers and largest auction houses offer, for example, PCGS or NGC-graded coins in MS-67+. What, pray tell, is the difference between MS-67 and MS-67+ and on to MS-68 (crack-out heaven.) Also, there are CAC stickers and never-ending plus signs, “PQ”’s., first strikes, ad nauseum. Maybe the graders should use scanning electron microscopes to check out if those nasty little electrons are rotating their atomic nucleus properly. All this just to jack up the price. I pity the suckers who fall for all this silly hoop-la! Together, with the mint issuing all kinds of cockamamie silver eagles, the grading companies are raking in a fortune grading MS-69 and MS-70 silver eagles with reverse proofs or other silly combinations. What if we go to a 100 point system? (Nah! that will never happen!) I’m 86 and when I was a youngster there were 2 grades, mint and circulated. I’m going to be selling all my coins on eBay, so my heirs will not get ripped off by unscrupulous dealers.

Irv Atkins
Henderson, Nev.

Where is Kennedy?

When I heard about the 2019 Christmas tree ornament from the U.S. Mint, I sent for one and planned to buy many more as gifts. The holder (ornament) was alright but the Kennedy half dollar was not. Where was Kennedy? On the obverse, there was an ugly motto, not Kennedy. I was very disappointed.

Address Withheld

Take the Time to Ask

In early November of 2019, the Livingston County Coin Club in Howell, Mich. held its annual fall coin show. It is a small event that hosts 100 or more visitors each year. As Club Secretary, I contacted several companies in an effort to obtain donations for door prizes one month prior to the show.

Several weeks later, a package arrived from NGC that contained five new 2018 Red Books, two slabbed MS-65 2004 State quarters (four quarters in each slab) and several other slabbed NGC samples.

Days later, another package arrived containing 50 new Lincoln cent albums from Littleton. Then, a package arrived from PCGS with 40 slabbed Sample 2019-D Lincoln cents. For me, it was so gratifying to get such a great response from companies that provide products and services for our hobby.

Our guests at our show were very happy to receive door prizes, especially the young numismatists (YN’s).

I did take the time to affix our club information card with our meeting date and location. I am writing this to let other clubs know that items are out there, you just have to take the time to write to them and ask.

Thank you to NGC, Littleon and PCGS for your contributions.

Ken Busha
Livingston Coin Club Secretary

W Quarter Find

I found my second “W” quarter in the same place I found the first one back in September 2019; emptying the quarters from one of the pool tables at work. It is another Lowell design, but in much nicer condition that the first one I found. It would probably grade about MS63 due to a couple of heavy bag marks on the obverse.

Daryl Conley
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Double Date American Eagle

I have an American eagle 20th-anniversary silver coin set. It’s a 2006 Proof with a doubled date. Is there any value to this? Is this common?

Rod Lively
Address Withheld

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